The Everly Brothers
were American country-influenced rock and roll singers, known for
steel-string guitar playing and close harmony singing. The duo,
consisting of Isaac Donald "Don" Everly (born February 1, 1937) and Phillip "Phil" Everly
(January 19, 1939 – January 3, 2014), were elected to the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Don was born in Brownie, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, in 1937, and Phil
two years later in Chicago, Illinois. Their parents were Isaac Milford
"Ike" Everly, Jr. (1908–1975), a guitar-player, and Margaret Embry
Everly. Actor James Best (born Jules Guy), also from Muhlenberg County,
was the son of Ike's sister. Margaret was only fifteen when she married
Ike, who was twenty-six. Ike had worked in the coal mines from the age
of fourteen, but his father hoped he would do something else with his
life and encouraged him to pursue his love of music. Fortunately, that
love was one Ike and his new bride Margaret shared, and they soon began
singing together. The Everly Brothers spent most of their childhood in
Shenandoah, Iowa. They attended the Longfellow Elementary School in
Waterloo, Iowa for a year, but then relocated to Shenandoah in 1944,
where they remained through early high school.
Ike Everly had a show on radio station KMA and later KFNF in Shenandoah
in the mid-1940s, first with his wife, and then with their two young
sons. When the brothers were invited by their parents to sing on the
radio, they were then known as "Little Donnie and Baby Boy Phil."
Singing on the show gave the brothers their first exposure to the music
industry. The family sang together and lived and traveled in the area
singing as the Everly Family. Ike, with guitarists Merle Travis, Mose
Rager, and Kennedy Jones, was honored in 1992 by the construction of the
Four Legends Fountain in Drakesboro, Kentucky.
The family next moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in 1953, where the
brothers attended West High School. In 1955, the family moved to
Madison, Tennessee, while the brothers moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
Don had already graduated from high school in 1955, and Phil attended
the Peabody Demonstration School in Nashville, from which he graduated
in 1957. Having both finished high school, they could now focus on their
pursuit of a recording career.